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How fundamental is the taste of sweetness to human beings? Alexey Kampov-Polevoy, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina who has studied the relationship between sweetness and alcoholism, says that infants experience a “reaction to sweet taste minutes after delivery.”

“Sweetness,” the Moscow native continues, “is like our basic pleasurable instinct. Freud was talking something about sex, but sex is secondary.” Just look at, he says, how we use the word “sweetness,” and its variations, in day-to-day life: We call our sexual partners “sweethearts” and “sweeties.”

“Nobody refers to candy as sexy,” the professor adds, giving Freud that one last slap.

“Our perception of sweets is a yardstick for our ability to experience pleasure,” Kampov-Polevoy adds. “If something is going wrong with our perception of sweet, it means something is wrong with our perception of pleasure. We may not know what….If something goes wrong with our pleasure perception, it means something goes wrong with our brain.”

Check out Young & Hungry in this week’s issue for more from the good professor.

So when’s the last time you really enjoyed a slice of pie for dessert?